Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Trust

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Stella's School Scheme

Click to enlarged map of the Gambia The rescued chimps of the Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Trust (CRT) live in the River Gambia National Park in The Gambia (click the map image to the left for a more detailed view), where they inhabit three large forested islands. The CRT now protects and monitors a population of over sixty free-living chimpanzees, many of them children and grandchildren of the original rescued chimps.

Eight villages are situated along the boundary of the National Park and over the years, through conservation education programmes, community projects and through simply being good neighbours, a strong relationship has been built up between the villagers and the CRT.

Salieu The concept of the Stella's School Scheme (SSS) came about when Stella met Salieu (right). Salieu was 10 years old at the time and a very bright and determined child. He lives in Sambel Kunda with his mother who is even poorer than the average villager as she has no husband. She could not afford to send him to school and he spent his days herding cattle. Salieu's answer to this problem was to find good grazing near the school so that while his cattle fed he could run and attend some classes. When his herd took him nearer the Chimpanzee Rehabilitation camp he would drop in and befriend the staff. He did his best to be useful around camp and borrowed any reading material he could. Most of all he took every opportunity to tell the staff how much he wanted to go to school. As a result of Salieu's persistence Stella began to take a new interest in the Sambel Kunda village school. She discovered that it cost very little to send a child to primary school for a year. Salieu's thirst for knowledge made an impression on Stella and she undertook to personally sponsor his education. She decided to try and persuade others to do the same for the rest of the children in the village and so the idea for SSS evolved.

Lamin There are many other children like Salieu in the neighbouring villages who are eager to learn and being sponsored could make the difference of a lifetime to each one. SSS was established to generate funds to educate the children from these villages. Previously under the umbrella of the CRT SSS became a charity in it's own right in mid 2009. SSS is administered by Ros Harris and Heather Armstrong (Stella's youngest sister and co-founder of The Gambia Horse and Donkey Trust).

Edrissa and Frankie Education is a vital element in the development of this very poor rural area. If, through the SSS, we can go some way to breaking the cycle of poverty and at the same time provide the chimps with their best chance for the future, through developing the concern and protection of the local community, then we really will have achieved something worth while.

So please help us to do this by sponsoring a child today. It could be the most rewarding and effective donation you have ever made.

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